The Truvia® business, the global leader of stevia sweeteners, released its Truvia sustainability program update, as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability leadership and transparency. This is an update to a 2011 report produced in partnership with Ethical Corporation focusing on developing a sustainable supply chain for Truvia sweetener. The Truvia update outlines the progress to date on the three pillars of its sustainability program: sourcing responsibly, stewarding natural resources, and sharing in improving communities.
“The Truvia business has opened and led the stevia industry since its inception, with sustainability at the core of the business,” said Zanna McFerson, vice president and Truvia business director. “We have built a sustainable field to table supply chain and committed to important economic, social and environmental goals, including to be zero waste by 2020.”
The Truvia sustainability program update outlines progress to date with examples in each of its three key areas. The update reviews where impacts lie, key milestones reached, and the next steps in the Truvia business commitments to build a sustainable supply chain:
1. Sourcing responsibly: The Truvia business developed the first global sustainable agricultural standard for stevia, consisting of control criteria in 13 categories—piloting them with a subset of producers in Argentina and China. Agricultural technicians in Argentina worked directly with producers to provide training and technical assistance on the stevia standard, as well as on agricultural best practices, including crop management, farm management and proper handling of raw materials during harvesting, drying and transport. Pilot results from Argentina and China have been audited by two NGOs. The initial findings are being applied to the 2013 harvest season.
2. Stewarding Natural Resources: To ensure proper care of natural resources, the Truvia business undertook a life cycle analysis to understand the major environmental impacts in the Truvia value chain. The results brought four key areas to the forefront: greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste and land management. The Truvia business has committed to the following:
- Reduce carbon footprint by 50 percent in 2015 from a 2010 baseline to become carbon neutral in 2020. Truvia sweetener is the first sweetener to receive certification of its carbon footprint by the UK-based Carbon Trust.
- Ensure all processed water is returned in the same quality in which it was taken and reduce net depletion by 25 percent by 2020.
- Reduce waste by 50 percent across the supply chain in 2015 in efforts to become zero waste by 2020.
Ensure stevia in the Truvia supply chain is not grown on conservation or protected land.
3. Sharing in improving communities: The Truvia business is committed to have an impact on people and families in the communities where it operates. One example is the partnership with the World Food Programme that launched on World Food Day 2012. Through this partnership, the goal is to create more sustainable communities in the areas where the stevia plant originated.
From the start, sustainability and transparent communications have been at the core of the Truvia business. To that end, the Truvia business set up advisory roundtables to share its efforts with the industry and foster constructive feedback on developing the next phase of the sustainability program.
The environmental campaigner Charles Secrett, a cofounder of The Robertsbridge Group, has been acting as an independent sustainability advisor to the Truvia business for the past two years. He says: “I’m impressed with the rigorous standards the Truvia business has so far integrated across its stevia production. They have set challenging environmental and social performance targets, and are meeting them. I’m particularly pleased with the decision to become carbon neutral and achieve zero waste by 2020, as well as the fair pricing, long-term contracts, and other help given to the farmers and growing communities. This is an overall sustainability approach that other companies would do well to learn from.”
“The stevia agricultural standard we developed is a first for stevia and has set the bar for responsibility across the industry,” added McFerson. “We continue to be open for scrutiny and invite our stakeholders to challenge us in our efforts to continuously improve.”